Paul Wellens says RFL should have ‘at least’ made Leigh ‘find a loophole’

The weekend’s Challenge Cup semi-finals saw four brilliant teams in action with cup holders Wigan Warriors falling to Hull KR, whilst Leigh Leopards edged out St Helens on Saturday, but sadly the talk since has been centred around injuries, tackle techniques and disciplinary matters.

Whilst Sunday’s fixture was relatively injury free, despite the red card for Wigan’s Joe Shorrocks, the same couldn’t be said for Saturday’s fixture at the Halliwell Jones.

St Helens picked up a huge four injuries, all to members of their pack, during that game and it’s been confirmed that two of those have sadly ended the season for Agnatius Paasi and Alex Walmsley.

Both players have suffered an MCL injury which is a three month injury but in horrible circumstances Paasi has also suffered an ACL injury and damaged his ankle ligaments, meaning he’ll be out for nine months.

This led Paul Wellens to detail the emotions of both players as he revealed the extent of the injuries and also called on RFL action.

“Look, in Agnatius and Alex, we’ve got two extremely disappointed, angry, upset players that they’ve been left in this position and the game hasn’t protected them,” Wellens told BBC Merseyside.

He even went on to add how prop Walmsley, who will miss the end of the season for the second year in a row, is feeling about the game of rugby league.

“Alex’s 12 weeks and 12 weeks doesn’t sound a lot when you compare it to Ignatius’ nine months, but at the same time, Alex Walmsley at this moment in time is questioning if rugby league is the sport for him, and I can understand why.”

Further injuries were sustained for Saints with Morgan Knowles a chance of playing this Friday whereas Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook will miss two weeks.

All four injuries were sustained in tackles that involved Leigh skipper John Asiata and Wellens has claimed the RFL have now set a precedent and that the Leopards should have at least been forced into using a loophole to avoid a ban, rather than attain no charge at all.

“They say that within the RFL sentencing guidelines, there is nothing in which they could secure a charge. That’s their take on it. I would tend to disagree,” Wellens revealed when asked about what had come of his chats with the RFL.

“There’s numerous things in the charges that could work and at the very least, even if you’re charging them with something, as a governing body, you are saying, we can’t accept this.

“If Leigh then decide that they want to challenge that and they find a necessary loophole to get him off, well good luck to them. But at least as a governing body we took a strong stand to say we don’t think that’s acceptable.

“The reason I speak here and I speak so passionately about it is because I believe in a cleaner game and a cleaner future for our sport, and what happened on the weekend, that doesn’t tie into that at all.

“I also can’t look Alex Walmsley and Agnatius Paasi in the eye if I don’t come in here and speak my mind and speak on behalf of them, because if the game is not going to protect you, I’ll show them that I’ll do my best.”